Sermon 546. Alpha And Omega
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 27, 1863, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
EVERY Sunday school child knows that there is no great mystery hidden in the words, "Alpha and Omega." We have here the namesof the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, so that the sense would be, "I am A and great O," in the Greek, or inplain English, "I am A and Z." "Jesus is the Alphaand Omega: A and Z: the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
Our text demands no preface. Indeed, I do not know how I could venture to put a single letter before Alpha. Let us thereforecome to our subject at once. In three ways I shall talk of the text. First, I shall bring certain doctrines to it. Secondly,we will look at the doctrines which are really init. And then thirdly, at the lessons which naturally flow from it.
I. At the outset, WE SHALL BRING CERTAIN TRUTHS OF GOD TO THE TEXT. This is a much too common method of preaching and onewhich I am very far from admiring as a custom. When some preachers get a text, the enquiry is not what Truth is in the passage,but what sense shall they thrust upon it. Fulloften the poor text is served as a cook treats a bird. It is first killed and then stuffed with any kind of fancies thatthe preacher may have chopped up ready to hand. By frankly stating that my first observations are not in the verse beforeus, I shall avoid sanctioning suchmethods of abusing God's Word. The thoughts to which I now give utterance have been suggested by many commentators and certainly,if they are not the legitimate offspring of the text, are closely connected with it.
1. Of things which we may fairly bring to the text, let us notice first that our Lord may well be described as the Alpha andOmega in the sense of rank. He is Alpha, the First, the Chief, the Foremost, the First-Born of every creature, the EternalGod. Man by nature is not the first even amongcreatures, for angels excel him by far. Nor are angels the chief, for our glorious Lord infinitely transcends them. He whomade is greater than they who are made. And He who sends is greater than those who are sent. Jesus Christ stands Alpha inhonorable degree-no angel canvie with Him.
"Being made so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." "For untowhich of the angels said He at any time, you are My Son, this day have I begotten you"? "And again, when He brings in thefirst begotten into the world, He says, And let all theangels of God worship Him." As for the Son, He has appointed Him heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds, butof the angels it is asked-"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Alpha was frequently used by the Hebrews to signify the best, just as we are accustomed to use the letter A. We say of a ship,for instance, that it is "A-1." So Jesus Christ may truly be said to be the Alpha, the First in this sense. Call Him by whatevertitle Scripture has affixed to Him and Heis the First in it. Is He a Prophet? Then all the Prophets follow at a humble distance, bearing witness of Him. Is He aPriest? Then He is the Great High Priest of our profession. He is the fulfillment of all that which the priest did but typicallyset forth. Let Him mount HisThrone as King, then he is King of kings and Lord of lords.
"His dominion is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom is from generation to generation." If He is the builder of His Church,He is the wise Master-Builder. If a Shepherd, He is the Great Shepherd who shall appear. If the cornerstone, He is the ChiefCornerstone-in fact, it matters not whattitle, or which character He bears, He is in all these respects the Alpha, as much surpassing all things that may be comparedto Him-as the sun excels the stars, or as the sea exceeds the drops of the dew.
But, Beloved, though our blessed Lord is thus Alpha-the First-He was once in His condescension made Omega, the Last. How shallI describe the mighty descent of the Great Savior? Down from the loftiness of His Father's Glory and from the grandeur ofHis own Divine estate, He stooped tobecome Man. There is a vast distance from the Alpha of Deity, down to that letter which stands for manhood. But to thisHe came, He was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death. But this is not enough. He stoops lower thanman. Yes, there is a verse in whichHe seems to put Himself on a level with the least of all creatures that have life-He says, "I am a worm and no man, a reproachof men and despised of the people."
His Father forsook Him-the wrath of Heaven rolled over Him. He was so utterly crushed and broken that He was poured out likewater and brought into the dust of death. Marshal the creatures of God in their order, in the dread day when Jesus hangs uponthe Cross, and you must put Him formisery, for weakness, for shame as the Last, the Omega. How marvelous is this tremendous sweep of His humiliation, thatfrom the highest Throne in Glory He should descend into the lowest depths of the tomb!
Death brings the creature to its very lowest degradation and makes it as though it were nothing. Jesus died and as I see theincorruptible Body lying in Joseph's sepulcher, I can but marvel that ever the great Alpha should come so low as to yieldup the ghost, being subjugated beneath the power ofthe last Adversary. Now, this is not in the text, but it may be fairly brought to it, I think, and without any compulsion,it may shake hands with the passage as being near of kin to it.
2. We will make another observation which is not in the text, but which is still a very precious Truth of God, namely, thatJesus Christ is Alpha and Omega in the Book of Holy Scripture. Open the first page and a discerning eye will see Jesus Christin Genesis. We know that the worlds were made byHim, and as we hear that majestic sentence, "Let Us make man in Our own Image after Our likeness," we at once discern Himas one of the sacred Trinity. We go onward to the Fall and at the gates of Eden the promise of the woman's Seed consoles us.
We advance to the days of Noah and lo, we see the Savior typified in the ark, which bears a chosen company out of the oldworld of death into the new world of life. We walk with Abraham, as he sees Messiah's day. We dwell in the tents of Isaacand Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise. We leavethe venerable Israel talking of Shiloh on his deathbed. We see his seed brought out of Egypt and eating the Lamb of God'sPassover. We reach the age of the Law and here the types crowd in upon us. But time permits not even a glance-suffice it tosay, in brief, that we view theface of Jesus in almost every page and behold His Character painted to the life in nearly every Book.
Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way-they all stand as the cherubs did, over the ark, desiring to lookwithin and to read the mystery of God's great Propitiation. In the New Testament we find our Lord the one constant theme ofevery page. It is not an ingot here andthere, or dust of gold thinly scattered-but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold-for the whole substance of the NewTestament is Jesus crucified. What would be left of the Evangelists if you could remove Christ from them? What are Paul'sEpistles if Jesus is takenaway? The whole of the Pauline literature sinks in a moment if Jesus is withdrawn. And what have Peter, James, Jude, orJohn to write upon but the same Subject? Is it not Jesus still?
Do not shut the Book too hastily, for see its closing sentence is bejeweled with the Redeemer's name. "Surely I come quickly.Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." Brethren, we should always readScripture in this light. We should consider theWord to be as a mirror into which Christ looks down from Heaven. And then, looking into it, we see His face reflected asin a glass-darkly, it is true, but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing Him as we shall see Him faceto face.
This volume contains Jesus Christ's letters to us, perfumed by His love. These pages are the garments of our King and theyall smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia. Scripture is the golden chariot in which Jesus rides and it is paved with love forthe daughters of Jerusalem. The Scriptures are theswaddling bands of the holy Child, Jesus-unroll them and you find your Savior. Talk not to us of bodies of divinity-theonly body of Divinity is the Person of Christ. As for theology, Christ is the true Theology-the incarnate Word of God. Andif you can comprehendHim you have grasped all Truth. He is made unto us Wisdom-getting Him you have the Wisdom of the Scriptures. The quintessenceof the Word of God is Christ. Distill the Book-reach its essential quality and you have discovered Jesus of Nazareth, theSon of God and the kingof the Jews. He is the Alpha and Omega of Holy Scripture.
3. Another fact is also sweetly true, although not, perhaps, in our text. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the greatLaw of God. Brethren, the Law of God finds not a single letter in human nature to meet its demands. You and I are neitherAlpha nor Omega to the Law, for we have broken italtogether. We have not even learned its first letter-"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart," and certainI am we know but very little of the next-"your neighbor as yourself." Even though renewed by Divine Grace, we are very slowto learn the holiness andspirituality of the Law.
We are so staggered by the letter that we often miss its spirit altogether. But, Beloved, if you would see the Law fulfilled,look to the Person of our blessed Lord and Master. What love to God is there! O Brothers and Sisters, where shall we findanything to be compared to it? "The zeal of Yourhouse has eaten Me up." "Know you not that I must be about My Father's business?" "My meat and My drink is to do the willof Him that sent Me." What love to man you find in Him. Talk not of the good Samaritan. Here is One who is better than he-theSamaritan did but give hiswine and his oil and his two-pence. Jesus gives Himself-gives His heart's blood instead of wine and the anointing of theHoly Spirit instead of oil.
While for food He gives His own Flesh and Blood for poor humanity to feed upon. Jesus loved in such a way that, as we saidon Thursday night, all the love that ever gleamed in human bosoms, if it could be gathered together, would be but as a spark-whileHis great love to man would be as aflaming furnace heated seven times hotter than human imagination can conceive. Do not, beloved Friends, if you are in ChristJesus, permit legal fears to distress you at the remembrance of your failures in obedience, as though they would destroy yoursoul.
Seek after holiness, but never make holiness your trust. Seek after virtue-pant for it-but when you see your own imperfections,do not despair. Your saving righteousness is the righteousness of Christ-that in which God accepts you is Christ's perfectobedience. And we say of thatagain, in the words of the text, Jesus Christ is "Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End." There is not a precept whichHe has not fulfilled in its widest sense.
As for the spirit of the Law, it breathes through His whole life of holiness and service. And as for the letter of the Law,He has carried it out to its extremity. The Commandment may be exceedingly broad, but not broader than the life of Christ.The Law may ask perfection, but it could not ask andcould not have a greater perfection than is found in the Person of Him whose name is "The Lord our Righteousness."
Brethren, these three matters I cannot affirm to be in the text, but can you blame me for bringing them forward? They standin such a near connection with the exact sense of the passage that they cannot well be omitted. May the Lord bless them toyou.
II. Now we will take the text itself. And show what are THE TRUTHS WHICH WE ASSUREDLY BELIEVE TO BE IN IT
1. Our Lord Jesus is Alpha and Omega in the great alphabet of being. Reckon existences in their order and you begin-"In thebeginning was the Word." Proceed to the conclusion. Suppose that all the universe has melted like the hoarfrost of the morning-imaginethat all worlds areextinguished as the sparks from the forge-conceive that, as a painted bubble passes away forever, so the whole creationhas departed-What then? What is the Omega? Why assuredly Jesus Christ would still be "God over all, blessed forever. Amen."
This we are quite sure is in the text, because the expression, "Alpha and Omega," is only used four times in Scripture. Andon the second occasion we find it in the eleventh verse of the first chapter of the Book of the Revelation, in a connectionwhich leads us to conclude that it must relate tothe eternity and self-existence of our Lord. For the seventeenth verse explains the eleventh thus, "Fear not. I am the Firstand the Last: I am He that lives and was dead. And, behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And have the keys of Hell and ofdeath."
Those expressions manifestly refer to the eternity of Christ. To His self-existence, His having life in Himself. To the factthat death did by no means destroy His self-existence and that now since His resurrection, He lives forevermore, death hasno more dominion over Him. Beloved, this is a greattheme. When we begin to talk of the eternity of the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are overwhelmed by the glory ofour subject. We need the eagle eyes and the eagle wings of John to see and soar into heavenly things. I read the other daya word by an ancient author and in thechapter upon the eternity of God I could not help noticing that there was hardly a word of more than one or two syllables-suresign of the sublimity of the theme and of the inability of man to see more than its most simple outline.
Will you go back six thousand years, when the world has newly emerged from darkness? Will you fly on, if you can, throughall the ages of the geological periods, if such there were? Can you journey back millions of years? Can you, can you? Canyou reach in spirit the time when as yet cherubim werenot born, when the solemnity of silence had never been disturbed by song of seraph, when the unnavigated ether had neverbeen stirred by the wings of angels? There is no world, no sun, no stars-space alone exists. Can you go further back tillspace is gone? You cannot. It isimpossible. You are lost. For you can only think of space and time.
But if you could by any stretch of imagination multiply the millions of years of which we dreamed just now, by another milliontimes and that a million million million times more-and those on still as far as ever human arithmetic can go-yes, and beyondthe possibilities of angeliccomputation, yet even then you have not begun to fathom the eternity in which God has dwelt alone. Certainly there was anage in which God was dwelling alone, not in solitude, for, as the fathers very rightly say, you must not use the term "solitude"in reference to God, since thethree Divine Persons everlastingly delighted in each Other and so knew no solitude-yet there was and is an aloneness inour God, since He is before all things.
Can your thoughts attain to that age of God in lonely Glory-in that eternity we know that Jesus was? He, whom though we havenot seen His face, unceasingly we do adore, was then the eternal Son. The Word was God. Jesus was Alpha. To fly as far inthe other direction-when the littleriver of time shall have been absorbed into the deep ocean of eternity, when all the world shall have departed even as themotes which dance in the sunbeam are seen no more when the sunbeam is gone-still Jesus shall be the Omega. It has been wellobserved by Dr. Gill, that nodoubt the words, "Alpha and Omega," are comprehensive-they take in all the letters between.
Certainly God comprehends all creatures. God is that without Whom there is nothing and in Whom are all things. Philo, theJew, compares the great God to a tree and all creatures to the leaves and fruits, which are all in the tree. But the metaphoris not complete because you may remove fruit fromthe tree, but there can be no creature out of the power and will of God by which alone it can exist at all. If you removethe fruit from the tree, the tree has at least lost something. But if all creatures were destroyed, yet still the Lord wouldbe as infinitely God as He is now.If the creatures were multiplied, God were no more-and if diminished, He were no less.
The creatures may be likened to the waves and God to the great sea. The waves cannot exist apart from the sea, nor the creaturesapart from God-but no earthly figure of the Divine can be complete. The waves are a portion of the sea, but the creaturesare not God, nor do they contribute to HisEssence or attributes. The sea would be diminished if the waves were gone. But if you could take all creatures away, Godwould be no less God nor less Infinite than He is now. In fact, the moment we begin to talk of infiniteness, we know nothingof diminishing or of increasing.
O Brothers and Sisters, we must leave this subject in the silence of reverent humility, for my little boat is out of sightof shore already. I must not venture further on this great and wide sea-
" Great God, how infinite are You! What worthless worms are we! Let the whole race of creatures bow, And pay their praiseto You."
A deaf and dumb man in one of the institutions in Paris was asked to write upon the slate his idea of God's eternity, andhe wrote the following forcible lines: "It is duration without beginning or end. Existence without bounds or dimensions. Presentwithout past or future. His eternity is youthwithout infancy or old age. Life without birth or death. Today without yesterday or tomorrow." "I am Alpha and Omega, theBeginning and the End, the First and the Last."
2. Another Truth of God is most certainly in the text, namely, that Jesus Christ is Alpha and Omega in the alphabet of creatingoperations. Who was it that began to make? Not an angel, for the angel must first be made. Did matter create itself? Was therean effect without a cause? It is contrary toour experience and our reason to believe any such thing. The first cause stands first. And the first cause is God in theDivine Trinity, the Son being one Person of that Trinity. He is Alpha because His hand first of all winged angelic spiritsand made His ministers a flame of fire.
He first made all things out of nothing. He molded the clay from which man was made. All things were made by Him and withoutHim was not anything made that is made. As He alone began, so His power maintains the fabric of creation. All things consistby Him. Christ is the great iron pillar of theuniverse and the creatures twine about Him as the vine does about its prop. These things are not, they vanish like a dreamif Jesus withdraws His power. He upholds all things by the word of His power. Brethren, there may be creations going on atthe present moment-fresh globesmay even now be fashioned between the hands of Omnipotence. If so, in every one of these Immanuel has a share.
At this very moment new comets may be launched like thunderbolts upon their fiery way, but not without the Son of God. Humansouls issue from the womb of creation every hour, but in their sustenance and sending forth, the mighty
God is ever present. On, on, on, as the works of God shall be enlarged and extended, as the universe shall grow on every side,Christ shall be there still-His Father's delight, with whom He takes counsel-His equal, bearing with Him the name of Alphaand Omega. If this world shall berolled up like a worn-out vesture, He shall roll it up. If the stars shall wither, it shall be at Jesus' bidding-if thesun shall be quenched, His breath shall blow out its coal. And if the moon shall be black as sackcloth of hair, Christ's handshall extinguish the lamp. Heshall do it all, even until the end shall come, for He is Omega as well as Alpha.
3. So again, beyond a doubt, our text intends that Christ is Alpha and Omega in all Covenant transactions. Beloved, here isa theme worthy of many discourses from the most eminent Divines. The thoughts of God, the eternal Decrees, the inscrutablepurposes of Jehovah-these are deepthings-but we know this concerning them, that from first to last they all have a relation to Christ. Concerning our raceand the elect out of it, the whole matter is encompassed in the Person of the Redeemer.
Do you speak of election? "Mine elect in whom My soul delights," is Christ's name. We are chosen in Him from before the foundationof the world. Speak of our being predestinated to be sons-we are only made so in Him who stands as the elder Brother. Everyseparate individual of the chosentribe stands only by virtue of an union which was established from of old between his person and the Person of the Redeemer.Search for the celestial fountain from which Divine streams of Divine Grace have flowed to us and you find Jesus Christ asthe wellspring of Covenant love. Ifyour eyes shall ever see the Covenant roll, if you shall ever be permitted in a future state to see the whole plan of redemptionas it was mapped out in the chambers of eternity, you shall see the blood-red line of atoning sacrifice running along themargin of every page. And youshall see that from beginning to end one object was always aimed at-the glory of the Son of God.
The Father begins with exalting Jesus and concludes with glorifying Him with the Glory which He had with Him before the worldwas. How I do love the Doctrines of Grace when they are taken in connection with Christ! Some people preach the Calvinisticpoints without Jesus. But what hard, dry, marrowpreaching it is. Oh, dear Friends, the letter kills. It breeds in men a controversial, quarrelsome spirit. But when youpreach the Doctrines of Grace as they are in Christ, as Dr. Hawker would have preached them! When you talk of them as Rutherfordwould have talked ofthem-oh, then a holy unction rests upon them and they become inestimably precious!
And let every Believer remember he does not get these doctrines as he should get them unless he receives them in Christ. Everywherethe Lord Jesus is to be considered! Not as the Friend of a day, or our Savior only in His life on earth-but as the Lamb slainfrom before the foundation of theworld-anointed Mediator set up from everlasting days. By faith I see Him as the eternal Son of God. I see Him standing inthe purpose of the Father as the Covenant Head of the elect. I see Him in due time born of a woman, but I do not forget thatHis goings forth are of oldfrom everlasting, and that before the daystar knew its place, His delights were with the sons of men.
I see Him. He cries, "It is finished!" He bows His head. I do not, however, forget that He is not dead, but that when theworld shall die and time shall conclude its reign, then He who is the Ancient of Days shall live and shall flourish in immortalyouth. Alpha and Omega is Jesus Christ, then, inthe eternal purposes and in the Covenant transactions of God.
4. Jesus Christ is certainly Alpha and Omega in all salvation-work as it becomes apparent in act and deed. That this is themeaning of the text I am clear, because in the first passage where the Alpha and Omega occurs-namely, in the first chapterof the Revelation, eighth verse-you willsee that all the works of salvation are ascribed to our Lord. Read the fifth verse, "Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witnessand the First-born of the dead and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sinsin His own blood and has madeus kings and priests unto God and His Father. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He comes withclouds. And every eye shall see Him . . . I am Alpha and Omega."
Now, we have here a summary of the great transactions of Saving Grace. You have here that He loved us-loved us before theworld was, with an everlasting love. You have next, that He washed us from our sins in His own blood, in which you have Hisredemption and our consequent pardon,justification and sanctification, all of which come to us through Him. As for our glory, it is the result of His secondadvent. Therefore, "Behold, He comes," makes Him the Omega, as the, "Unto Him that loved us," made Him the Alpha. I need notrepeat to you who know so well that,"There is none other name given under Heaven whereby we must be saved," and that in no part or portion of that salvationcan any other name be admitted into partnership with His.
Jesus must begin. Jesus must conclude. It is very striking to observe the commencement and the perfection of the spirituallife both laid at Jesus' door in the sixth verse of the twenty-first chapter-"I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and theEnd. I will give unto him that is athirst of thefountain of the water of life freely." So then, if you have any thirst, you must come to Jesus Christ at the beginning toget the water of life. If you have been led to know your own emptiness-if you have received from His Spirit a hungering anda thirsting afterrighteousness, go not to the Law- look not within. But come to the Alpha, drink and be satisfied.
If, on the other hand, life is near its close-if you have been preserved in holiness, if you have been kept in righteousness-rememberstill to trust in the Omega. For these words follow, "He that overcomes shall inherit all things. And I will be his God, andhe shall be My son." So thatthe inheriting of all things, the final overcoming of all spiritual foes comes through Jesus, just as did the first drinkof living water. The first breath which heaves the spiritual lungs, the first light which greets the newly-opened eyes, comesfrom Jesus who is the Beginning.And the last shout of faith, the last shout of holy joy which shall admit the saints into the Paradise of God shall proceedfrom Him who is the End.
Beloved, lay back upon Christ with all your strength-lean on Him with all your weight. He who began will finish-He never wasAlpha yet without being Omega, too. Nothing shall change His purpose-neither Heaven, nor earth, nor Hell can afford a motiveto turn Him from His way oflove. "He is of one mind and who can turn Him? What His soul desires, even that He does."
5. There is one more Truth of God which I conceive to be in the text. Jesus is Alpha and Omega not only in the individualsalvation of every saint, but in the whole chain of the Church's history. Where shall I say that the Church began? Why, veryspeedily after there was a seed of the serpent,there was also a Seed of the woman. Surely the line of demarcation began hard by the gates of Eden. There we see Abel worshippingGod in faith and Cain who was of the Wicked One and slew his brother.
Do we not, thus early see in Abel's sacrifice the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world? Follow the Church throughall her varied fortunes and you will find her always bearing the banner of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah at her forefront.No matter if she wanders about in sheepskins andgoatskins, destitute, afflicted, tormented. Christ is still the Daystar of her comfort in her victories. His name is theloudest note-others may have slain their thousands, but the Son of David his ten thousands. No name wakes up the songstersof Israel like the name ofMessiah, the Coming One. Nothing can move the feet of Zion's maidens so joyously in the sacred dance, nothing can make thedaughters of Jerusalem smite their timbrels to a more joyful strain than this-"He comes-He comes who shall judge the worldin righteousness and Hispeople with Truth."
Since the first advent of our Lord, has not the Church ever carried Jesus as her standard? Where will you find the Churchwithout Christ? Jesus is yonder, among the snowy mountains of Switzerland, and His Church is with Him though her sons bearthe names of heretics, schismatic, traitors, andworse. The Church of Rome has forgotten her first husband and played the harlot, committing fornication with the kings ofthe earth. But there was a faithful bride found for the Son among the Albigenses and the Waldenses, in whose homes Jesus dwelt.What was their battle cry? Whatwas the note they chanted round the family hearth? What was the name they pressed to their bosom when they dared not singfor fear the foe should fall upon them? Was it not the name of Jesus?
And when the dark ages passed away, what light do I see gleaming yonder? What does Luther proclaim? What does Calvin teach?It is the great name of Jesus which is their common theme! What do you say, Brothers and Sisters? Do you not join hands insolemn covenant, and say today, "His name shallendure forever! His name shall be remembered as long as the sun"? Do you not long for the time when, "all nations shallbe blessed in Him, all people shall call Him blessed"? Surely you yourselves will help to fulfill the promise, "one generationshall praise His name to another andshall declare His mighty acts."
But the end comes. Jehovah's banner will soon be furled-His sword shall be sheathed forever-the unsuffering kingdom shallbe proclaimed. Swords shall be broken and spears shall be snapped. The sun shall look upon no battlefield, but shall greetthe reign of universal peace. What then?Jesus' name shall then be known everywhere. Men shall talk of Him and think of Him by day and by night. Prayer, also, shallbe made for Him continually, and daily shall He be praised. They who dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him and Hisenemies shall lick the dust. Thencomes the end. The Judgment Throne is set. The wicked are summoned. The righteous on the right hand have received theirrewards- from whose hands? From the hands of the Omega who closes the chapter with His benediction, "Come, you blessed ofMy Father."
There are the wicked. Hell is gaping for them. The tongues of flames lick up the multitudes as the lion devours his prey.Who is this that pronounces the thundering sentence, "Depart, you cursed"? It is the Omega. That same Face which once wasbedewed with tears, is now brighter than the sun withflashes of lightning. The Voice which said, "Come to Me, you weary," now says, "Depart, you cursed." He began-He ends-theAlpha is the Omega. But it is an end without end. Long, long through the ages of eternity, amid Heaven's perfect inhabitants,His name shall be theperpetual theme of song.
Down there, amidst the howls of the damned, they shall, against their will, declare His awful justice-they shall proclaim,in their eternal moans, the power of the pierced feet which shall tread them as clusters in the winepress until their bloodflows forth to the horses' bridles ineternity. Heaven and earth and Hell shall adore Jesus as Alpha and Omega. Hallelujah, hallelujah! Jesus Christ reigns stillas the Lord God omnipotent-Alpha and Omega! III. By your patience we will notice A FEW THINGS WHICH FLOW OUT OF THE TEXT.
1. The first is this-Sinner, Saint, let Jesus be Alpha and Omega to you today in your trust. Poor Soul, are you willing tobe saved? But do you say, "I have not this qualification, or that recommendation?" Ah, do not begin with yourself as the Alpha!Come to Jesus as you are and let Him beAlpha to you. Are you black with sin? Let Him wash you. Is your heart hard? Let Him soften it. Are you a dead good-for-nothingsoul? Are you ragged and wretched? Are you lost, ruined and undone? Do not stop to write Alpha first. Do not stop to beginyour own salvation.
Sinner, remember there is no preparation wanted for Christ. Just lean upon Him wholly. Take Him to begin with- no, let Himtake you to begin with. Drop into His arms now, repose upon Him now. You will never get true salvation unless the first letterin it is Christ, for He is the Alpha. Itwill all have to begin over again if you begin with humblings, with repentings, with convictions, or with anything but Christ.It must all be done over again, I say, unless you begin with Jesus. There He is. His wounds are flowing, His heart is breaking,His soul is inanguish-there is the Alpha of your salvation.
Look and live. "Look unto Me and be you saved all you ends of the earth." Child of God, let Him be the Omega of your salvation.If you have begun with Him, do not now confide in yourself. Shall I say to you as Paul did to the Gala-tians, "Having begunin the Spirit, are you now made perfect in theflesh?" "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." Your first hope was through looking to Jesus, willyou now look to your sanctifications, to your prayers, to your evidences, to your humbling, to your communing? Away with allthese if they pretend to be theground of your soul's comfort! Remember, child of God, that to the end of the chapter it must be as it was in the beginning-
"None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good." Up in that chamber of yours, with strong crying and tearsyou turned to God, and you never had any comfort till you looked to Jesus only. And in that other chamber where you shalllie dying with the dampness of death heavy on yourbrow-you shall have no comfort but Jesus only. You passed through the river of conviction and Jesus forbade your drowning.You shall go through the stream of death and He shall still keep your head above the waves. Alpha and Omega should Christbe to everyone of us as ourtrust this morning.
2. Beloved, if we have trusted Him, let Him be Alpha and Omega in our love. Oh, give Him the first place in your love. YoungWoman, may the Holy Spirit win your young heart for my Lord and Savior. Let the flower of your heart be offered to Him inthe bud. O you, young Children, who are yourmother's delight and your father's care-I pray that your first dawning days may be consecrated to the Savior. Let him beAlpha with you. I trust He is Alpha to some of us and has been so for years. We can use the words of the Psalmist, "I wascast upon You from the womb. Youhave been my God from my youth up. Truly I am Your servant and the son of Your handmaid."
You who are growing old and gray-headed, let Him have the Omega of your love. As you lean upon your staff, bending downwardas if to salute your grave, bear loving recollection of all the years of His patience and the days of His faith- fulness toyou. Breathe the prayer, "Now, also, when I am oldand gray-headed, O God, forsake me not." See to it that you forsake Him not, but clasp Him with an expiring grasp as theOmega of your soul's delight.
3. But, surely, Brothers and Sisters, our Lord should be the Alpha and Omega of our life's end and aim. What is there worthliving for but Christ? Oh, what is there in the whole earth that is worth a thought but Jesus? Well did an old writer say,"If God is the only Eternal, then all the rest isbut a puff of smoke and shall I live to heap up puffs of smoke? And shall I toil and slave merely to aggrandize myself withsmoky treasures that the wind of death shall dissipate forever?" No, Beloved let us live for eternal things and what is thereof eternal things that can bechosen but our Lord? O let us give Him next year the Alpha of our labor.
Let us begin the year by working in His vineyard! Toiling in His harvest field this year is almost over. There is anotherday or two left-let us serve Him till the year is ended, going forward with double haste because the days are now so few."Lord teach us to number our days, that we mayapply our hearts unto wisdom." Let your time and your talents, your substance and your energies all be given to my Master,who is worthy to be your soul's Alpha and Omega.
4. Lastly, Jesus crucified should be the Alpha and Omega of all our preaching and teaching. Woe to the man who makes anythingelse the main subject of his ministry. "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whomthe world is crucified unto me and I unto theworld." Do not tell me you preach sound doctrine-you preach rotten doctrine, if you do not preach Christ-preach nothingup but Christ and nothing down but sin. Preach Christ! Lift Him up high on the pole of the Gospel, as Moses lifted up theserpent in the wilderness,and you will accomplish your life's end.
Preach orthodoxy, or any form of doxy-if you have left out Christ-there is no manna from Heaven, no water from the rock, norefuge from the storm, no healing for the sick, no life for the dead. If you leave out Christ, you have left the sun out ofthe day and the moon out of the night.You have left the waters out of the sea and the floods out of the river. You have left the harvest out of the year, thesoul out of the body-you have left joy out of Heaven-yes, you have robbed all of its All. There is no Gospel worth thinkingof, much less worthproclaiming in Jehovah's name, if Jesus is forgotten. We must have Jesus, then, as Alpha and Omega in all our ministrationsamong the sons of men.
And now I am very conscious, this morning, that I have only plowed the surface. I wish I could drive into the subsoil of sucha glorious text as this, but I suppose that the plowman who can do this had need to have been caught up to the third Heavenand even then would fail. Who shall know anythingof God but those who have seen Him and have beheld His Glory in Heaven? As for us, our eyes are lacking. We have Jesus amongus, but we perceive not His excellent Glory. Like Peter and James and John, we sleep while Jesus is transfigured.
The theme is far too high for me. Who can know God but God? Who can reveal Him but the Only-Begotten? And who can comprehendthe fullness of Him who is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last? It is enough if we have a saving acquaintancewith the Redeemer, enough for our peace and joy,but gracious Lord, by Your Grace, teach us more. Amen.
Adapted from The C.H. Spurgeon Collection, Version 1.0 . Ages Software, 1.800.297.4308